On this day in 1996, Sri Lanka batsman Sanath Jayasuriya set a new batting record to hit the then fastest ODI fifty assaulting Pakistan bowlers in the Singer Cup final in Singapore. Also Read - Three Sri Lanka Cricketers Under ICC investigation For Match-fixing: SL Sports Minister
Chasing a modest target of 216 at the Singapore Cricket Club, Sri Lanka had been given a blistering start by their opener Jayasuriya who had just days before set the record for the then fastest ODI century against the same opponents. Also Read - Former Pakistan First-Class Cricketer Riaz Sheikh Dies of Suspected Coronavirus
The lefty continued his incredible form with Sri Lanka sprinting to 70 without by the sixth over, all on his own. However, his opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana departed in the same over and without opening his account while consuming 11 deliveries. Also Read - ICC's Guidelines 'Weird And Off-putting' But Health And Safety More Important: MCC Chief Kumar Sangakkara
He took just 17 deliveries to reach the fifty, raising prospects of yet another century and potentially bettering his own record. The script was being written with Jayasuriya scoring at an astonishing pace.
Eight fours and five sixes took him to 76 off just 27 when Waqar Younis provided Pakistan with the breakthrough that sealed the fate of the contest.
Jayasuriya holed out to Saeed Anwar to depart on 76 off 28, his strike-rate an unreal 271.42.
However, Sri Lanka were still at a comfortable 96/2, needing 120 to win with eight wickets remaining.
And then Jayasuriya had to witness a dramatic collapse sitting helplessly in the dressing room.
Sri Lanka were bowled out for 172 in 32.5 overs as Pakistan completed a stunning turnaround to win the final by 45 runs.
Jayasuriya’s record would stay intact for 19 years before an equally ridiculous assault saw South African AB de Villiers setting a new record for the fastest ODI fifty (in 16 balls) and then also smash 31-ball 100 – the fastest in the format’s history.